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What We Offer to Families

Example:

Your 18 year old is not respecting your family rules and you have run out of options. You could benefit from a family conference.

Parenting is one of the most challenging responsibilities of our lives. As children grow, develop their own personality, knowledge and skills, and want more autonomy, it is important to negotiate new, but appropriate, boundaries and ways of living together that work for everyone in the family.

A family conference is a meeting of everyone involved in or affected by the problem in the family. Each person, in turn, is asked to explain his or her own actions and how he or she is affected by the situation. Each person is then asked what needs to be done or what he or she can contribute to make things right. A plan of action is then built out of consensus.

The benefits are that each person is held accountable and must take responsibility for his or her actions. Each person's point of view is listened to with respect. The family, as a whole, takes responsibility for what has happened and what needs to be done to resolve the problem. The aim is to restore relationships and to provide an opportunity for the family to look forward to a fresh start.

Example:
Your only remaining parent has just passed away and already the feuding has begun. Personal items are disappearing and there are serious questions about a recent will that has just appeared.

You should realize, first of all that your family situation is by no means unique. Family conflict frequently breaks out around the time of a parents death, and all too often families break apart when they do not face these conflicts right away. This would be a good time for a family conference. A typical conference would begin with each person being asked how he/she has been affected by the parent's death and how he/she is being affected by the conflict. Although it may have already begun to appear, what is behind the conflict would be explored by everyone sharing his or her needs or personal interests. Then, from the understanding already gained of each other, and with the help of an experienced facilitator, everyone would brainstorm a plan to accommodate each person's needs and
point of view.

By everyone taking responsibility for understanding and accommodating each other, the entire family is given the opportunity to share the loss of their parent(s) and to renew itself as a family.